Alderman "Inclined" to Support Prentice Hospital Demolition

Northwestern University wants to demolish building that was vacated last year to build a new biomed center

Monday, Oct 15, 2012  |  Updated 9:21 PM CDT
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Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said Monday he's "inclined" to support a plan to demolish the Prentice Women's Hospital Building in Streeterville. Preservationist have been fighting to save the brutalist building designed by Bertrand Goldberg.

"I’ve been trying to work with both parties to see if there is any way possible, any way at all, to get use out of the existing structure that provides an added value to the university and, to date, we have not been able to find a solution to that riddle," the downtown alderman said during a visit to the City Club of Chicago.

He said a study conducted by those who want to keep the building, at 333 E. Superior St., in tact "fell short of what [Northwestern] University needs to operate a world-class research facility that would add thousands of jobs to Chicago. The building was vacated in 2011.

"I remain open to suggestions and, believe me, if there’s eureka moment, I’m all ears. The last thing I want to do is take down important architecture in the Central Business District. My track record is living proof," he said.

In making his comments, he essentially let Mayor Rahm Emanuel -- who has been mum on the issue -- off the hook, the Chicago Sun-Times pointed out.

And with his word choice, he indicated a decision hadn't yet been made.

"Ald. Reilly said he was open to a creative solution and 'open to all ideas' -- and we applaud him for that. That’s the kind of openness to creative solutions that Northwestern has refused to consider, even though their 25 acres of Streeterville property give them plenty of options. And Prentice re-use would generate additional jobs and economic activity," read a statement from the Save Prentice Coalition.

"Prentice is like Chicago --  bold, distinctive, pioneering, and one of a kind. It is a true Chicago landmark. We look forward to the building coming before the Landmarks Commission this fall, as the city has committed to."

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